Warwickshire Council deploys automated Speech Dialler to drive service efficiency

[nik's note: they say "Dialler" but it seems they really mean "Auto Attendant". Oh well, it seems speech technology still remains a mystery to some... ]

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has invested in a Macfarlane automated Speech Dialler in the latest stage of its Service Transformation programme. The Dialler will answer incoming customer calls with an automated greeting and then ask callers for the name of the person they wish to speak to. Using advanced speech recognition techniques, the system will then match spoken names to those contained in its database, and route calls through to the correct telephone extensions. [click heading for more]

Nationwide open-question call steering: some suggestions

This week sees a switch over to speech-based call steering for Nationwide Building Society, using open-question style prompting - "how may I help you?" (0800 30 20 10)

The opening prompt - somewhat long-winded - is as follows:

Welcome to nationwide. Calls may be recorded to help us improve our service to members. Briefly tell me in your own words what it is you are calling about and I'll direct your call to the right member of our team. You're free to interrupt at any time. For a list of available options, say" what are my choices"; so how can I help you?

I'm not sure I would have designed such a laborious prompt, even though there is clearly a lot of information to get across. Here's my suggestion (here comes the free consultancy).

Welcome to Nationwide. Calls may be recorded to help improve our service. At any time, just tell me in your own words what you are calling about; so, how can I help?

[then if there is silence]
For a list of available options, say "what are my choices?"; now, how can I help?

The original prompt is over-wordy and overly-formal - e.g. why specifically mention "members"? What's more, breaking the prompt in two like this obeys the principle of giving information just in time. In the original prompt, it is assumed the caller needs to know what choices are available, even though they've already been told they can use their own words. This clutters the prompt and increases cognitive load. In my version, the caller isn't told about this option until it appears they need it (by staying silent).